Thursday, August 19, 2010

Loving all God's Creatures Great and Small

   Whew, what a day! The girls had a field trip to Storybook Gardens today with their daycare and I was forced volunteered to go along as a chaperone. They pretty much know that I am willing to go along on most field trips, so just expect me to tag along. As I used to work in the daycare field, I am not afraid of the little buggers darlings and relish getting a little outing in on occasion. Good practice to keep me sharp by yelling at other people's kids to find their partners, stay with the group and keep their clothes on. Actually I only had to re-clothe one child. Surprise, surprise, it was one of mine. sigh...

   We (yeah, ok mostly they) climbed pirate ships, screamed down giant slides, splashed with wild abandon in the spray zone (that one had me written all over it) and generally had a super swell time. I cannot tell a lie though. I really do love going on class field trips. I already know all the children's names in both girl's classes, but hanging out lets me get to know them all a little better. I get to see them on their terms playing and having fun. The smiles are contagious and their lightness strips the years off my soul. It reminds me why I love children. Yes, sometimes I do need reminding, strange as it may seem. Children's exuberance, joy, amazement at life and pure honesty is just beautiful in my books. Of course, when we returned to the daycare, I deeked out to buy groceries for dinner leaving my little angels behind, just so I could get a few minutes of kid-free time to myself for the day. We are headed away to my  Mom's trailer for the weekend, with big family birthday celebrations on the roster, including my sister and her two little ones, so I am not expecting any more kid-free moments the rest of the week. The one kind thing I did do for myself (really, probably for everybody) was to wait to go up until tomorrow. We were going to head out today, but all I wanted to do when we got home from the field trip was to pop open a beer, so that is exactly what I did. Tomorrow is another day; A New Day in fact. ;)

   I think I will just leave you with a few moments of my day that stood out for me as especially poignant. The children had all been dragging as the lunch hour approached. Both my girls were leaning on my arms, as well as the child of the other parent within our little group. Having a parent on a field trip seems to give a green light for extra suckiness to appear, but thems the brakes I guess. So when we announced food on the horizon, many little faces lit up. All the groups that had dispersed from the daycare, reconverged at our appointed rendezvous spot. I was amazed, nay flabbergasted that thirty + little people waited patiently with plates in front of them till everyone in the group received their meals. With a shout to dig in, food instantly commenced to disappear. It was all very civilized, with some laughing and joking, but no continuous urgings to "eat" or "stop that". Wow. Fresh air is an amazing encouragement. The moment that struck me though was after the sandwiches had disappeared and the apples were being crunched on. My eldest noticed that the father in our group had a spider on him. He was apparently nonplussed, but it went further than that. His son knocked off the little arachnid, but it kept coming back. Dad finally got it and let it crawl on his hand up his arm without batting an eye. The kids in the vicinity just watched in interest. No one ewwed or screeched. It spun a line down off his hand and hung there for a moment. His son peered in and jumped back as it blew towards him, before it jetted off for adventure in other areas of the park. It made me laugh to see the boy jump back, but he certainly wasn't overly fazed by it. This was almost immediately followed by the discovery of a caterpillar. This little creepy crawley was a wee beauty. It was small and fuzzy, mostly black, but with white highlights. The caterpillar again crawled up and down Dad's hand and was soon transferred to son waiting palm. Many boys crowded around to look, as did my daughter. She got her chance to have its little legs put some miles on her skin, before she handed it on to another. Eventually it was released and all the children agreed that it had to be returned to a bush. No squashing of this delicate creature. It touched me as a great learning moment about the beauty and breadth of all living creatures. After packing up the lunch detritus, we started back into the park for more fun, only to discover another caterpillar. This green one was worse off than the other creatures we had come across over our lunch. It appeared to have been partially trodden upon, but still relatively whole. Everyone crowded around to look and agreed that it needed to be moved out of harm's way. A stick was quickly found and the ailing caterpillar was relocated to a garden bed where nice fresh leaves could be had. No screams, stomping on or laughter here. Just tender empathy from a group of five year olds. For me a special "wow" moment. Yeah, I like nature and it warms my soul to see people kind-hearted towards it. For all the laughter that was had throughout the day, that was my favourite part of my Thursday. If you made it this far in my reverie, I thank you and wish you happiness and tender moments in your day too. 

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